The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review of: Speer, Albert. Infiltration: How Heinrich Himmler Schemed To Build An SS Industrial Empire. New York, MacMillan Publishing Co, Inc. 1981.

Review of: Speer, Albert. Infiltration: How Heinrich Himmler Schemed To Build An SS Industrial Empire. New York, MacMillan Publishing Co, Inc. 1981.

By Tim Krenz
December 2011

Albert Speer, Hitler’s capable Minister of Armaments and War Production, began researching a book about Germany’s war industry once his 20-year prison term in Spandau ended. He switched the theme of the book when he saw what had once been secret to even him during the war. Researched and written in the late 1970s, this may have been one of the last, high-level, and personal accounts of Nazism in power, by a prime Nazi, and written by a member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle and one of his few close associates.

Speer was convicted and sentenced to prison for his war crimes, and crimes against humanity, as a leader of Nazi aggression and as an exploiter of slave labor, including Jewish concentration camp inmates. Among the original prisoners in the first Nuremberg trial convicted in the fall of 1946, Speer escaped execution via hanging by a threaded noose of fortune.

In his better-known personal memoir of the Nazi-era in Germany, entitled Inside the Third Reich, Speer, an architect and aesthete trained in engineering and management, comes across as a deeper, more interesting co-conspirator of Nazi crimes than the usual cult-sadists, murderous cranks, and racist ideologues of the Nazi Party. (The military leadership, however, was more efficient, and far less psychologically unbalanced).

Speer could never clear whatever conscience he had about participating in the greatest of modern evils— e.g. the Holocaust and the 50 million dead in the war. He does admit he sinned against the human nature of decency and objective morality, yet his sincerity should never be tested. He was at the center of a system of evil, and he holds much responsibility for both the guilt and consequences. Indeed, in his role of Minister of Armaments & War Production, he performed a revolution in industry that kept Germany under the Nazi government fighting and in power longer.

If Speer possesses any worth at all after the sparing of the noose, then let it be the history he passed down. Infiltration is an historical insight of what would have happened if the Nazis had prevailed. Taking over duties as Minister at age 37, Speer rationalized the socialists economics of central planning and ended a poor policy of civilian consumer production that had prevailed earlier in the war. Instituting a “total war” concept to industrial production, Speer from his position as a production czar instituted a system of corporate independence and “self-responsibility” by committee (for resolving bottlenecks) according to the guidance he dictated to all manners of the war effort.

Speer for three years and 3 months, held massive power over Germany and its occupied empire, in the fields of research and development, contracting, construction and repair, production, distribution, energy, chemicals, machines and machine tools, metals and other materials, purchasing, transportation, housing, nutrition, paid employment, foreign impressed workers, and most hideously, the doomed slave labor of Russian prisoners of wars and Jewish concentration camp inmates. In pure power of economic decision-making, Speer, who stood accountable to Hitler, held as much influence as any one person in in the history of the world over the “how” and “what” a continental-sized economy (Nazi-held Europe) produced, distributed, and consumed. Speer, as much as anyone in the war or in the history of the world, was a true Baron of Industry of unparalleled proportions.

Such power over wealth product by a government minister made others jealous for their own ambitions. Enter SS Reichsführer Himmler. As head of the main security and paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party, the S.S., Himmler’s ideals for the future rested on the purification of blood and traits; of what Hitler (the oracle to Himmler’s cult) ordained as the “Aryan” race. These super-creations of scientific selection, and the surgical and industrial murder of undesirable peoples, Jews among others, would then allow creation of a German “New Order,” first in Europe, then across the world.

In a Germanic ideal of “chosen” people and “sacred” soil, within a faux Romantic-paradise of “Aryan” self-sufficiency, the empire Hitler sought would be ruled under the sadism and racial hatreds instilled in the “super-soldier-farmers” that Himmler would himself create out of the SS personnel. Himmler, a psychopath by any definition, believed that his SS empire required economic self-suffiency, and only by stripping Speer of his governmental powers and his state resources could the Nazi Party’s, through the SS, fulfill Hitler’s nightmare.

Infiltration is more than a storied power-struggle between Speer and the sadistic Himmler. Speer shows in numbers--the calculations of dollars, scores of millions of dead, hundreds of millions of slaves, vast lands and building projects—what that the ideas of a murderous and sick ideology meant for the world if Nazism had prevailed. If nothing else, the SS records used by Speer are insightful, and disturbing. If Hitler and national socialism had succeeded and not been stopped, even with greater sacrifice humanity might never have yet recovered its natural liberty. Even more disturbing, the Nazis were elected in Germany in 1932-33 over the communists as the lesser of two evils. It should instruct us today that the lesser of two evils is still evil in the end.